It’s that time of year, mid-December, when all college students are in deep studying mode for exams. As a break, tonight the Wolfpack take on a team who had one of the two biggest NCAA tournament upsets wins from last year, Norfolk State.
Norfolk State etched its name into NCAA Tournament lore last year as a No. 15-seed, when it pulled a second-round upset of No. 2-seed Missouri, 86-84. The Spartans will be playing its second straight top-25 opponent this week after missing on an upset bid of No. 10 Illinois, 64-54, on Tuesday. Norfolk State trailed by three with 2:30 left in the contest, but it was unable to convert a couple of late possessions and the Illini pulled away by hitting their free throws down the stretch.
One of the seniors on the team, Richard Howell, has been playing better and better lately. It is not a coincidence that this “beasting” play, as CJ Leslie describes it, is coming on as he is staying on the court and not getting into foul trouble.
Wolfpack players have a specific verb to describe the recent performance of Richard Howell. It’s not in the dictionary, but it was the automatic descriptor used by C.J. Leslie when asked about his teammate.
“He’s like a man, a manchild,” Leslie said of Howell. “Everyone is proud of what he’s doing. He’s beasting is how we call it.”
Howell seems to be turning into one of the biggest leaders of this team. Tonight, the Pack hopes that his continued inspiring play leads the way against the Spartans.